Intimacy and Technology

Subject HPSC20010 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5 (1x1 hour lecture and a 90 minute tutorial per week)
Total Time Commitment: An average of 8.5 hours each week.
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: Knowledge gained in the completion of 75 points of first year studies in any area.
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed 'Intimacy and Technology' under the codes 136-209 or 672-328 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Michael Arnold


Dr Michael Arnold

Subject Overview:

Intimate Technologies are those that we use to understand ourselves, and that we use to establish and maintain our relations with others. The subject approaches intimacy and technology through a wide variety of examples and case studies - technologies that mediate family life (home architecture), technologies of modesty and privacy (underwear and bedrooms), technologies of surveillance (CAT scans and bar-codes), communications technologies (love letters and SMS), reproductive technologies (IVF and sheep-gut), technologies that mediate personal identity (the data-body and flesh-fashion), and that mediate social and community relations (swarms and networks). The unifying themes that run through these examples approach technologies of intimacy in terms of their propensity to mediate, reorder and reframe our intimate relations, and students are invited to critically assess this argument. In so doing, students will gain a fresh and critical understanding of the ways in which technologies and our lives are intertwined.


A student who has successfully completed this subject will

  • understand and critically interpret the major theoretical and philosophical approaches that inform our knowledge of sociotechnical relations.
  • demonstrate a critical appreciation of the implications of particular sociotechnologies for self, and for human relations.
  • identify, interpret and recount sociotechnical case studies relevant to intimate relations.
Assessment: A 2500-word essay 50% (due at the end of semester), a 1000-word essay 30% (due in week 4) and a 500-word seminar presentation 20% (due during the semester).This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75%. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the bookshop at the start of semester

Recommended Texts:

Bauman, Zygmunt (2003), Liquid love: on the frailty of human bonds, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.
  • develop skills in written and oral communication.
  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument.
  • conduct independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Science and Society

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